Empowering Books for Women

Review of ‘Cupcakes and Kalashnikovs’ edited by Eleanor Mills with Kira Cochrane

This book is a bit of a curveball. It’s very different to any other book you’ll find out there at the moment. Cupcakes and Kalashnikovs is an anthology of 100 years of the best journalism by women. The book covers a wide range of journal articles, all written by women, and all equally important in the dialogue of women empowerment. The articles included in this book cover everything from what it feels like to be forcibly fed (written by Djuna Barnes in 1914) to the original iteration of Bridget Jones’s Diary (written by Helen Fielding in 1995), and everything in between. The editors Eleanor Mills and Kira Cochrane do a fantastic job of compiling the very best of women’s journalism. Cupcakes and Kalashnikovs is one of those books that really makes you think of the world and your place in it.

You’ll want to take out your fancy pens and write all over this book.

You’ll find that you have a drive to underline, circle, write notes in the margins, and maybe even copy out your favorite quotes with your beautiful stationery, maybe even making your own motivational wallpapers. So much of this book is motivating. It’s witty, well-written, heart-breaking, and down-right infuriating at times, and that’s what makes this book stay with you.

Cupcakes and Kalashnikovs is broken down into seven different sections, each containing articles covering the whole spectrum of that topic.

War. Home and Family. Politics, Race and Society. Emancipation and Having It All (my personal favorite). Crime and Punishment. Sex and Body Image. Interviews and Icons. There’s something for everybody in this book. Men and women alike have a lot to learn from within the pages. It would make the perfect gift for a loved one, or yourself, coupled with some fancy pens because you won’t be able to resist taking notes, maybe in a beautiful rose gold note pad to match your rose gold pens? Rose Gold Notepad.

This book holds all you wish you’d learned in school.

Essentially, it’s women’s history told by women journalists. Women who have witnessed things firsthand that, thankfully, many women today will never have to face. During a time when women journalists were not taken seriously, courageous women such as Rebecca West, Nellie Bly, and Emma Goldman took the bull by the horns and wrote about things that mattered to them. Whether that be women’s rights, the Nuremberg trials, or mental health. They showed that women have valid opinions and were more than capable of bringing news to the rest of the world.

Before each article is a paragraph explaining the context and the author.

It’s very much a no-frills approach to presenting journalism. However, by laying out the context, we are often shown just how important that article was, at that particular time, written by that particular person. It’s hard to imagine the circumstances under which some of these women set about to write and I, for one, am eternally grateful that they picked up a pen and changed the world. I think we can all learn a thing or two from the women included in this book. 

You can check out other reviews of the book here: goodreads. Happy reading!  

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